The Bulldogs fell to the Penn Quakers on Saturday in a 17-27 contest dropping to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the Ivy League. Harvard’s loss over the weekend improved the odds for a team winning the Ivy League Championship with a 5-2 record but the next four games for Yale will all be tough contests.
The offense was able to piece together two complete drives in the first half yet struggled to gain yardage behind an injury plagued offensive line. Grooms was constantly flustered by pressure and was only able to complete 58.3% of his passes for 121 yards and 2 TDs. An ugly interception and two overthrown deep balls to open receivers killed any momentum that Yale had attained. The offensive line was manhandled, allowing 4 sacks and failing to open rushing lanes. Aside from a 44-yard run by Grooms and a 14-yard run by Lindley, the rushing attack failed to produce results despite hard running from Pitsenberger, Peterson and Alston. Lindley, Tipton and Nenad were bright spots for the offense combining for 10 receptions for 96 yards. Like last season’s loss to Penn, the offensive play calling in the second half could not have been worse. For instance, the Quakers had a drive stalled in the 3rd quarter after a bad snap and then had a disastrous punt for just 18 yards. Yale began the drive at the Penn 45-yard line but was quickly forced to punt following two runs up the middle and a deep incompletion to Nenad on 3rd and 4. The Dartmouth contest should have been a clear warning sign that the overreliance on big plays would come back to bite Yale, yet due to ignorance or arrogance, the coaching staff continues to gamble with low probability plays instead of simply trying to move the chains and control the clock.
As poor as the offensive performance and coaching were in the contest, the defensive woes were on a whole different level. Penn’s QB Aidan Sayin had his way with the Yale secondary completing 33 passes for 364 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. The lack of a pass rush was an embarrassment as Sayin had a carefree afternoon in the pocket with ample time to find open receivers. Freshman RB Malachi Hosley effortlessly ran through arm tackles from the Bulldogs to rack up 86 rushing yards or 4.3 yards per carry and a touchdown. Yale had no answers for Penn’s WR Jared Richardson who set an all-time Penn record with 17 receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown. The coaches failed to make any meaningful adjustments to limit Richardson despite accounting for over half of Penn’s completions. On the off chance that Richardson was covered, Sayin had no issues finding other receivers such as Casilli open with no Yale defender nearby. Instead of getting creative with an endless possibility of blitzes, stunts and coverages, the defensive coaches refused to stray from the base zone packages that have failed to limit opposing offenses this season. Brown, Princeton and Harvard all possess more potent offenses than we faced against Penn, so drastic changes must be implemented in a hurry.
Bosman was 2 of 2 on PATs and nailed a 23-yard field goal in the 4th quarter. The windy conditions made punting difficult and Bosman averaged just 30.7 yards per punt in the contest. Felton had a solid showing at kick returner with 2 kickoff returns for 56 yards.